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Chapter 18 – Putty residents, where they lived. 

The State Elections for the 23rd parliament was held on the 6th December, 1913.

Putty was a registered polling place and the State Electoral Roll, 1912-1913 for the District of Singleton was published.  The “ROLL OF ELECTORS WHO VOTE AT PUTTY POLLING PLACE” was made up with the names of twenty three males and thirteen females, their place of residence and their occupation listed. 

 

Most Putty families were quite large, with up to thirteen children not unusual.  But unless these children were older than twenty one years of age they were not eligible to vote so were not included on the roll.  With children added to the number of adults on the electoral roll, the population in Putty in 1913 could have been somewhere around one hundred and fifty. 

 

Living in what could be classed as the centre of Putty were John, Leo and Sophia Café, Walter Carey, William and Amelia Jackson, George and Cardinal Laycock, Frederick Lovell, James Martin, the school teacher, Ada, Eliza, Jonathan and Joshua Medhurst, Albert, Catherine, Catherine Jnr., Roland, Wilhemina and William Merrick and William and William Claude Sylvester.

 

Further to the west at Condon Clear were the Cobcrofts and Mary Café. At Long Swamp (now Bakers Road and Putty Valley Road corner) were William and Mary Fraser and Catherine and George Gibbs, (Snr.) 

 

May Harris was at Green Hill, the Chapman family was and still is at Burrowell.  Tommy Cross and his family were at Boggy Swamp and Henry and Eudora Turnbull managed the Post Office at Happy Valley. James Duff ran his grazing enterprise at Kindarun.

      

 

 Ma Harris's home at Greenhills, Circa 1930 

The electoral roll stated that the men were graziers, labourers and farmers and the women carried out the domestic duties.  Domestic duties?? Hmmm, and all the other farm work that needed to be done as well.  No set job description in those days, ladies.

Just in case you were wondering, the Australian Labor Party was re-elected, with William Holman as Premier. 

You have probably come to realise that the Laycock, Cobcroft, Jackson, Merrick, Café, Taggart, Medhurst, Gibbs and Harris families joined through marriage, continuing this trend in later years with the Ridge and Turnbull families.  By the turn of the century, just about everyone in Putty was on a branch, a twig or a leaf of the same family tree. 

Interaction with neighbours extended for quite a distance and it seemed that Howes Valley and Putty were almost as one with family members coming and going between the two places, especially when a dance, a church service, a sporting event, or a party was being held or there was major work to be done. Even school classes were held on a half time basis on alternate days at the two locations.  Getting about was either on horseback or by horse and cart, sometimes even on foot. These were still the days before the first motor car had arrived in Putty.  

Go back to when Hannah Laycock took possession of Putty Farm in 1824.  Could she have possibly imagined when she and her son Samuel set foot on their chosen piece of land that over the following 100 years Putty would develop at the speed it did and become home to as many people as it did. 

 

Chapter 19 (a) -Where Pioneers Rest, in Putty 

There are many lost and forgotten graves in cemeteries right across the rural areas of Australia including those in Putty and Howes Valley.  In Putty there are four small cemeteries and to the north at Howes Valley, seven more.  All are located on private property. Except for the information I was provided with by the Singleton Historical Society, no official records exist to acknowledge the grave sites of some of the original pioneers and their children who lived and died at Putty and Howes Valley

 

THE PUTTY CEMETERIES

THE LAYCOCK CEMETERY

Laycock family members share the graveyard which was established on George Laycock’s property adjacent to the original 100 acre Putty Farm. Some of the headstones still remain standing but over the years, most have crumbled and show no distinguishing marks.

Robert Laycock, son of Mary and Thomas W.E.B. Laycock was the first person to be buried there in 1866 followed by his mother in July 1878 and his father in 1881.  With them are Mary & Thomas’ sons Henry, buried 1904, Andrew, 1908 and daughter Emily Jane Cobcroft, 1925. 

  THE LAYCOCK CEMETERY

INSCRIPTION LEFT SIDE HEADSTONE 

IN LOVING MEMORY OF MADELINE COBCROFT DIED APRIL 13 1889 AGED 1 YEAR & 11 MONTHS 

MY LITTLE MADELINE IS GONE. NEVER SHALL HER MEMORY FADE. SWEETEST THOUGHTS SHALL EVER LINGER, ROUND THE SPOT WHERE MY LITLE LOVE IS LAID 

ALSO

EMILY JANE COBCROFT, DIED 22nd AUG 1925, AGED 76 YEARS. AT REST 

 

 INSCRIPTION RIGHT SIDE HEADSTONE 

IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR DEAR FATHER & MOTHER

 THOMAS W.E.B. LAYCOCK DIED APRIL 14TH 1881 AGED 66 YEARS

AND MARY MATCHAM LAYCOCK DIED JULY 15TH 1878 AGED 63 YEARS

 DEAREST PARENTS HOW WE MISS THEE FROM OUR SIDES,

AND OFTEN WEEP SINCE YOU HAVE GONE,

NO MORE THY WELCOME VOICES WILL WE HEAR,

TO SOOTHE OUR GRIEF OUR HOME TO CHEER.

 

 Madeline and baby Kenneth, children of Emily and her husband Oliver Cobcroft share the space. George and Ada Laycock’s four year old daughter, Mable Irene, and a baby, twin to their son Kenneth are also there. 

 

THE MERRICK CEMETERY 

The Merrick Cemetery can be found beside the old homestead “Hillview”.  In it are four graves enclosed within a cyclone fence. The headstones mark the graves of William and Catherine Merrick who died in 1952 and 1966 respectively, their daughter Hilti Cobcroft who died in 1929 and their son Claud Carlton Merrick who died at four and a half years of age in 1908. 

 

 

 

 

CLAUD CARLTON MERRICK

DIED 17TH MARCH 1908 AGED 4 ½ YEARS

SLEEP ON IN THY BEAUTY, THOU SWEET ANGEL CHILD

BY SORROW UNBLIGHTED, BY SIN UNDEFILED

LIKE THE DOVE TO THE ARK, THOU HAST FLOWN TO THY REST

FROM THE WILD SEA OF STRIFE, TO THE HOME OF THE BLEST

 

 

 

Hilti's headstgone has become unreadable.  

HILTI ANGELINA COBCROFT, Who died 3rd October, 1929,aged 36 years  

SHE IS ASLEEP BUT NOT FOREVER, THERE WILL BE A CLORIOUS DAWN, WE SHALL MEET TO PART NO NEVER, ON THE RESURRECTION MORN,, SUNSHINE PASSES, SHADOWS FALL, MEMORIES WILL OUTLIVE ALL

 

THE MEDHURST CEMETERY 

At the old Medhurst property, once named “Herligwoods” is the Medhurst family cemetery.  Resting in it are Joshua Amzi Medhurst who died in 1929 and his baby daughter Edna Maud who was only one month old when she died in 1913.

 

Headstone of Joshua Medhurst

Joshua and his wife Ada had a sad and unfortunate life enduring the death of seven of their children for varying reasons. Joshua committed suicide at age fifty seven while of “unsound mind”.  

The third headstone in the cemetery is shared by the baby daughters of Albert and Nina Medhurst, Betty and Audrey, born two years apart and dying two years apart in 1932 and 1934. Time has worn both of these headstones with inscriptions difficult to read as has the one for little Edna Maud.

 

 

 

 ONE LONE GRAVE AT ROSWELL

In a lonely spot at Roswell is the grave of Jonathan and Eliza Medhurst’s little son Milton Norman who died in 1913 aged only seven months.  He lies alone on what was once his parent’s property. Many years later, property owner, Margaret Pierce placed a memorial plaque on the small wooden structure surrounding Milton’s grave. 

I don’t imagine for a minute that I have located all the grave sites in Putty. Possibly there are more as death through misadventure would not have been uncommon during the first few years of settlement.  Most of the burials were performed with honour and respect, others with perhaps just a shovel.

 

Chapter 19 (b) - Where Pioneers Rest, Cemeteries north of Putty 

Both Putty and Howes Valley were well populated during the first one hundred years of settlement. Families moved between the two villages, living where they chose, dying there or elsewhere but lay to rest where their families chose. Some never left the places where they were born, while others were buried far from home. 

 

I have located seven cemeteries to the north of Putty and in this chapter I will begin with the three closest to Putty. 

 

AT BOGGY SWAMP, where Robert Ridge Jnr. and his wife Esther lived, there is a small cemetery containing three headstones.  With the death of their first baby Lillian, Robert and Esther established the cemetery and over following years lay to rest two more of their children alongside her. The lettering on the headstone appears to have been hand chiselled possibly by their loving father.

 

 SACRED TO THE MEMORY

OF

LILLIAN RIDGE

DIED JULY 10 1882 AGE SIX MONTHS

------------

ALSO TO FREDERICK RIDGE

DIED MAY THE 9TH

1889 AGE SIX HOURS

----------

ALSO THE MEMORY OF SEPTIMUS RIDGE

DIED APRIL 13TH 1891

AGE 10 MONTHS AND 13 DAYS

--------

LET PARENTS LOVE CONTINUE

 

  

Of the other two headstones, one is so badly crumbled that establishing whose memory it holds is not possible.  

The third is that of John Medhurst.  John and his wife Sarah were living at Howes Valley at the time of his death so why his family chose to bury him at Boggy Swamp remains a mystery to me.